Friday, December 11, 2009

Seeing Beauty When There's None



"He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery." Anne Frank

It's hard to think Anne Frank was only 14 when she wrote this. 14 and hated - for no other reason than being Jewish. 14 and having her world as she had known it - turned upside down. 14 and not able to go outside to smell the flowers, or attend a dance or sit in a classroom and daydream about boys, or her future or life.....

In spite of the hatred and brutality that had taken over her world - in spite of  being stripped of all the comforts of home and school and friendships - in spite of those who believed she had no right to exist......14 year old Anne wrote as if her world was normal....as if nothing had changed....putting her thoughts down on paper - the thoughts of a normal teen.....

I try to visualize what it must have felt like to be 14 and forced to live in a small space with people terrified for their lives - fearing the craziness of those who wanted to kill not only you but your whole race - people who lived with fear that if they were found - they would die.....or worse...

Anguish - cries heard in the streets - family, friends, respected elders - taken - their lives stolen - beaten like violent criminals - in temples, in shops, in communities - there was no safe place....nowhere to hide. It was always just a matter of time. 

Yet in the midst of that senseless brutality - 14 year old Anne kept her diary and wrote like any typical young teen pondering the world around her and her place in it.

Her words strong, positive, powerful:

"I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be...."  
"think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."  
"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."

I didn't have the strength that Anne had. Or the courage - nor her positive outlook. I felt the hatred and I hated back. I felt the brutality and I wanted to lash out against every perpetrator who hurt me. I let the brutality pull me into its lies - into its fear, into its hatred - Everything in my world was black - dark  - I saw no beauty. I wanted so bad to give up and to give in to the darkness. I saw no hope - no light - no meaning.

 Anne had been raised by loving parents - parents who gave her security and a strong foundation  - so strong that when the darkness came - she was able to push it aside and still see beauty. I'm trying to parent my girls that way. Maybe it's working. My oldest 13 - almost 14 - is amazingly positive. She inspires me - she teaches me....

Growing up in a Jewish home - I heard the phrase over and over: "to not remember the past is to be condemned to repeat it." I used to wonder why do Jewish people constantly talk about what happened....and hold memorials and give honor to the survivors.   I was told - 'so it will never happen again. From one generation to the next - we must tell what happened.' 

I think I'm beginning to understand.....to tell of the brutality we lived - in some way is a protection for the next generation - to know - to be aware - to live a bit differently - to understand there is darkness - but there's also a strength, a hope - a light with each survivor who stands up and says, "I survived. The darkness couldn't destroy me."

I never wanted anyone to know what happened to me - all those things I lived - Today I want you to know, "I survived." And everytime I read some of your blogs - and know you too have survived - I'm cheering.

26 comments:

Andrea said...

Praise GOD you survived and you live victoriously through HIM.
Blessings, hugs, and love, andrea

Finally Free said...

Sarah,
"I survived, too." A great way to express how to hold on to the "beauty" in our suffering.
Maybe that's why God has been sending me a butterfly across my path during the last month of trials.
Blessings,
Tammy

Maria said...

wow your blog is inspirational and well written! thank you for sharing thoughts and heart:)

Lori Laws said...

Yes Sarah, you are a true survivor! You inspire me. You're a great writer. In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to tell the next generation so they would never forget how God had delivered them. And I believe that is for the bad times as well. So I can't wait to see what God does next! God bless you and your family!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Anne is a great example of someone else who has survived like you. A warrior--as you are, Sarah. You are strong beyond even your own belief about yourself.

Have a great weekend!

Prayer Girl said...

Sarah,
I personally don't think you are that much different from Anne except that your conquering of the darkness is occurring at a different point in your journey.

Anne was a survivor and so are you.

PG

Grace said...

You did survive! And you triumphed...and are making a difference in the lives of others. What an inspiration you are to me...Thank you ~ Grace

Being Me said...

Beautiful words, and inspiring story of a little girl.
You are strong, always think of what you have overcome and accomplished never look back, always look forward(a reminder always for me), continue to perservere.
BM

Madison said...

You are turning darkness into light for others. You survived and will thrive. It's good to remember the past, but not to live there. That's the hard part sometimes.

Deborah said...

You have brought tears to my eyes. You did survive. Thank you.
Deborah

Epiphany said...

Such a beautifully written post my friend.xx

Audrinna said...

Yes survived, and giving other hope

Gaia said...

Sarah, it's people like yourself who has shown us that there is no darkness only light. When you share, we learn. We learn to have courage and yes survive like you did. Bless you and family.

Peter Stone said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, I am so moved every time you write about your daughters, about the way they inspire you, even teach you.

Anne Frank's words are wonderful too, "I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be...."

That's what we can have in God - He is our refuge in the midst of the storms, keeping the bad on the outside.

Paula said...

Being German I am often emotionally paralyzed when this time of our history gets mentioned. Helpless, ashamed but often confronted too as if nowadays Germans are NAzi#s and havent learned anything. I think our engagement in Afghanistan actually tries to show that we have learned. Our civil right book says: NEVER AGAIN. Therefore military was only to defend borders, but NEVER should German soldiers enter foreign soil. Considering support and freeing Afghans of the terror of taliban took us many years. Now it is that we have to stand up for not limiting what we now have to give. Freedom and democracy given, received. learned from and now passing in on when ASKED.
I was 14 when I read Anne Frank. Being abused and unwanted her words turned me into despair as this was far to much to handle for me. By now I have read Anne FREanbk several times and I am grateful for her being so very much loved by her parents.
Sarah you are such a survivor. Without the acceptance, attention and appreciation of parents it is freaking hard to survive in the first place AND turning it around extremly hard. You have done so exceptional well. Yepp, my therapist said that kids can be so very healing too. I am happy to dance and learn with and from your daughter. She can be happy to have such an awesome wise mother. Love from Munich

VIOLETA said...

Hello from Romania ,
please read the blog – My heart His words – at Humbled and convicted , my friend Tammy Nischan wrote them the story and some pictures of some hungryes poors kids , what we try to help them for Christmas .Our LORD will be so proud of us if we will do something!
I love you blog,
sweet blessings and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Violeta

Roxy said...

Such an inspirational post, Sarah... you are shining the light on the path to survival for others to see, and to learn from your writing. How beautiful you are, as a person, as a survivor, and as a writer! Bless you!

Denise said...

Awesome post sweetie.

Susan Deborah said...

dear sarah:

the best part is that she was such a young girl and her insight on life is tremendous.

sarah, you are no less. you inspire us all with your courage-inducing posts. your life's stories and experiences are definitely a ray of sunshine on cloudy days. i thank god for you and the posts.

joy always, dear one,
susan

Paula said...

Sarah, since I know that you RUN and DANCE to feel who you are, I wanted to quote something form a book to you. However I couldnt page the page. Today I finally did:

"What is the basic nutrition for the soul? Well, it differs from creature to creature, but here are some combinations. ... For some women air, night, sunlight, and trees are necessities. For others, words, paper, and books are the only things that satiate. For others, color, form, shadow, and clay at the absolutes. Some women must leap, bow, and run, for their souls crave dance. Yet others crave only a tree-leaning peace." (p.210)

from the book: "Women who run with wolves"
I often have to think of you as you are running with wolves, every day more and more. Do you know the book? It is about connecting to your inner free being.
Love from Munich

Wanda's Wings said...

I glad you survived. You help me daily.

Colleen said...

I am cheering for you! Blessings.

Alleluiabelle said...

Hi Sarah,

I became a follower at your other site "Gentle Recovery" and came by here earlier today and read through every posting. I am in awe of what the Lord has done in your life and what you personally have been through. You are such a strong inspiration and encourager to so many others out there in this world. I thank the Lord for you, for saving you and for you seeing His light through the deep darkness that once was prevailed over your life...Yes, you certainly are a true Survivor, an inspiration for all of us to see truly what miracles God can do in our lives.

Peace and blessings to you sweet sister and my prayers will from this day forward be always with you.

Love, Blessings & Prayers,
Alleluiabelle

Lisa Marie said...

You are giving your girls the gifts that everyone should receive. Bless you, they are lucky, lucky girls.

Sheila Deeth said...

Praise God, and what a beautiful inspiring piece of writing.

Karen said...

You are a true survivor...one who encourages and inspires others...bless you....